A Few Writing Exercises for Your Tuesday Afternoon

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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  1. Write a short story reimagining Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus as a odd couple/buddy comedy sitcom set in an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  2. Summarize the plot of the last book that you read– in pantoum form.
  3. Come up with a list of titles of terrible-sounding 1930s pulp stories (“She-Devil in Silk Stockings”, “Deadeye Dorgan and the Sarsaparilla Stagecoach Job”), and then write a summary of each story.
  4. Spill a glass of milk onto the floor, then copy the outline of the puddle onto a sheet of paper. Imagine the outline of the puddle as the shape of an undiscovered continent, then create forests, mountains, rivers, cities, and countries for this imaginary place. Describe its cultures, languages, and economy, and then take the role the leader of one of the countries. Plan a war against your country’s bitterest rival.
  5. Write a sestina on the theme of the last time you went to the bathroom.
  6. Write a fanfiction story so bad that people will know that you’re joking. (Hint: this is impossible.)
  7. Take your favorite TV show from the 1970s. Then, make an outline for a blockbuster Hollywood remake of it, starring Shia LeBoeuf and Brooklyn Decker.
  8. Write a commercial from the year 2459.
  9. Pretend you are a journalist. Write a dismissive review for an imaginary band’s new album. (You may choose the band’s name, genre, and the album title.)
  10. Watch Firefly for the seventeenth time.
  11. Go to a hip-hop club dressed in Goth clothing. Look uncomfortable. Smile nervously at people. Take notes on their reactions.
  12. Invent four new words for imaginary colors.
  13. Dress up in Pioneer clothing, then take a little red wagon out, add three Hula Hoops and a tarp, and walk around your neighborhood, saying that you are going to Oregon to look for gold. Note their reactions.
  14. Make up a language, then go to the mall and engage people in conversations in your imaginary language. Note their reactions.
  15. Watch Blade Runner for the seventeenth time.
  16. Get a friend, dress up in nice shirts, ties, slacks, and sensible shoes, then go around your neighborhood, knocking on doors, and handing out Satanist tracts. (Alternately you and your friend could dress up like Hell’s Angels and canvas for the Mormons.) Note their reactions.
  17. Think of your favorite novel. Then, reimagine it as an erotic cyberpunk thriller. (If your favorite novel is already a cyberpunk horror thriller, then reimagine it as an earnest literary novel about a fortysomething white male writer having a midlife crisis.)
  18. Eat a pound of cookie dough ice cream and fall asleep on the couch. Record the horrifying nightmares about being chased by cookie-shaped ooze monsters that result.
  19. Go to an anime convention dressed as a Vulcan. Note people’s reactions.
  20. Write a list of writing exercises on your lame blog rather than actually doing any goddamn work.
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